Fitbit data reveals the impact of Covid-19 on global activity

Words by

Multimedia Reporter

With social distancing schemes and full-on community quarantines cropping up across the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major, palpable impact not just on public health systems but on all our daily lives. Activity and health tracking firm Fitbit found that, among its 30 million active users around the world, nearly every country studied by the fitness company experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count compared to that of the same period the previous year.

Fitbit data scientists established a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area by analyzing the activity of millions of Fitbit users with similar characteristics during the same week from the previous year. Their team correlated step count to general activity, and found that as Covid spread from country to country, activity declined accordingly.

The analysis found that during the week of March 22, 2020, the United States saw a 12% decline in step count. The deviation from normal activity for this time last year, for example, occurred much earlier in the year for countries like China and Hong Kong, which were the first to face Covid-19.

There are reasons for optimism nonetheless, as the data shows that step counts are starting to rise again in China, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Keeping tabs on one’s health during a lockdown

Here are some tips to help focus on your own health and fitness given the current challenges:

  1. Take advantage of guided programs. Health has been made more accessible thanks to a variety of guided programs available online. Discover the best option for you and take advantage of expert insights, food and fitness inspiration, and sleep and mindfulness tools.
  2. Maintain healthy habits like eating nutritious food. Incorporate food rich in protein, vitamins A, C, and E as well as zinc in your daily diet. A good tip would be to add more color to your plate.
  3. Find moments of calm throughout your day. Remembering to take regular mental health breaks is crucial especially in times of uncertainty. Studies show that taking a few moments to relax each day can reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. Support one another. Invite friends and family to join you in virtual weekly step challenges. Find ways to be physically active whilst keeping in touch with your network.